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Worry Not Over Arrant Democracy
REUTERS/Etienne Oliveau/Pool
Monday, 27 February, 2017 | 05:26 WIB
Worry Not Over Arrant Democracy

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo does not have to be worried about the democracy that he deemed had 'gone too far.'

The President should respond to the recent surge in rallies on the streets or bitter attacks that are getting widespread in social media in a wiser way.

Displaying anxiety in the public—during the appointment of members of Hanura Party— recently, in fact showed panic.

It was something unnecessary because the President has a big authority to "eradicate" it if he wants to, among other by issuing regulations.

Jokowi’s statement was quite shocking.

He said that democracy gone too far opens up extreme political articulation, such as liberalism, radicalism, fundamentalism, sectarianism, terrorism, as well as other values against Pancasila ideology.

Jokowi cited the example of the deviation of practice he mentioned such as politicization of SARA (race, ethnicity and religion) and attacking each other and assaulting each other that can divide the nation.

It is easy to predict. Jokowi refereed to the case of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the incumbent candidate of Jakarta Governor.

Former Jokowi’s running mate when Jokowi was still Jakarta Governor was accused of committing blasphemy and is now on trial at North Jakarta district court.

In social media, Ahok’s proponents and opponents attack one another wit harsh sentences.

Freedom of speech is part of democracy.

Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution states that the freedom to associate and to assemble, to express written and oral opinions, etc., shall be regulated by law.

It means, the Constitution does not forbid Indonesian people to speak up. Therefore, President Jokowi does not have to be worried about democracy.

If what makes Jokowi worried is the excessive use in terms of the freedom in voicing opinions, such as hoax, the solution is simple.

Use the Constitution as the parameter: are there violations? What regulations violated?

The President actually knows that the key to address democracy gone too far is law enforcement.

Therefore, he told legal enforcement apparatus to take a firm action every time a violation is made.

Upholding law is the right choice rather than displaying anxiety in the public. Freedom and law enforcement are two sides of a coin in a democratic life.  Freedom without limit will cause chaos.

On the contrary, excessive law enforcement and a government that rules in a repressive way will repress the public voice.

Therefore, both wheels have to spin together.

(*)

 



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